Super Bowl Sunday. I’m hoping for a quiet day, but we are busy right out of the box.
The first call is for a lift assist. We find an eighty-year-old woman sitting on the bedroom floor, unhurt. She says she just slipped off the bed, but can’t get up. She says she thinks her sugar is low. We check it and sure enough it is only 34. I give her some Dextrose, and then we go down to the kitchen and sit with her while she eats toast and jelly and eggbeaters. She says we used to come pick her husband up off the floor all the time, and took him to the hospital many times. Now we are coming for her. She says she hasn’t been eating enough lately. Being a diabetic and a dialysis patient, she has a limited diet. Her daughters want her to leave the house for an assisted living housing, but she is reluctant to move. It is after all the house she has lived in since they were babies. “I don’t know what’ll do,” she says. She eats a mouth full of eggbeaters, and then takes a bite out of her toast. “I’ll survive,” she says.
Call number two is for a man who has cut some fingers off with a table saw. We are at our headquarters so it is very easy for me to grab a big Ziploc bag load it with ice, grab a smaller Ziploc bag, and en route to the calls, put some sterile gauze moistened with saline. I also get my narcs out of the lock box, anticipating needed pain relief.
I should know better in EMS not to anticipate. When we get sent for a motor vehicle, and I toss a board on the stretcher before we leave the bay, it is never a transport. When I first started sometimes on the way to a cardiac arrest at a nursing home, I used to start getting my gear ready as we rode up in the elevator, attacking the defib pads, putting a stylet in the ET tube. Every time I did that, it turned out not to be a code. Preparation is good, but sometimes, you have to just wait until you get there. Today, even though we are updated that at least one finger has been cut off, when we arrive, all five fingers are there, along with their tips. It’s just a few lacerated ends.
As soon as we get back, we are sent for a fall at the hardware store, young child bleeding from the head. The young boy tripped and got a suturable lac on his forehead.
While we were out on these calls there were at least four other calls in the town that the commercial ambulance responded to. I’m hoping people are just out doing their business early so they can be safe at home for the Super Bowl. I get out at six and hope to be home in time for the kickoff.
4:30 I get a call at a group home for a 87-year-old man with extreme retardation and quadreplegia. He is barely four feet tall, completely contracted and with kifosis to such a degree that his head seems closer to his bellybutton than his shoulders. He is sucking pretty hard. I ask what his code status is. They don't know. They hand me the big blue book that has all his history in it. Normally, they are very reluctant to even let you hold the book to look for info, but today they send the book with him and no accompaning aide. This is a first. I think they are required to send an aide. I do see a TV on -- the pregame show. On the way to the hospital, after doing the 02, IV, monitor routine, I try to read through the book, but can't find anything about code status. They have pages logging the man's BMs, notating size, shape and color, but nothing about his code status. It is the first question they want to know at the hospital. Code status? I tell them I don't know. I tell all that I do know. While they are debating what to do. The doctor says anything done for this patient would be futile, we are suddenly aware of a smell. "Well," the nurse says, "At least I can chart his BM."
I don't get back until after crew change. I hear the opening kickoff on the way home, which is okay because at least my head is still on my shoulders and no one is keeping a blue book on me yet.